Tiger Woods made 3 gear changes — but 1 isn’t easy to spot
It’s been a while since Tiger Woods strolled the fairways at a PGA Tour event. Seven months, to be exact. The media members gathered at Albany in the Bahamas on Tuesday peppered Woods with questions about his health, TGL and the future of the PGA Tour, but it wasn’t until the 15-time major winner took to the course that another important question — assuming you’re a gearhead — received an answer.
Indeed, Tiger does have some new toys in the golf bag that are impossible to miss. Two weeks after Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood debuted TaylorMade’s Qi10 LS driver in Dubai, Woods became the latest staffer to vet the Qi10 LS driver in competition.
As we highlighted when the driver hit the USGA conforming driver list, the sliding weight track on Qi10 has been reimagined along with the overall shaping of the head.
The words “Carbon” can also be seen on the face, all but guaranteeing a continuation of the “Carbonwood” line TaylorMade started in 2022 with Stealth. The silver line visible on the upper portion of the face looks eerily similar to the laser alignment system TaylorMade added to its Stealth fairway woods several years ago as an alignment tool.
The LS on the driver no doubt denotes it’s the “Low Spin” model in the lineup, but don’t expect TaylorMade to stop there. A second version with a dedicated heel weight landed on the conforming list this week that’s likely designed to help induce a draw for golfers who struggle to contain a slice.
But there’s more to Woods’ driver change than a simple head change. Look above the hosel and you’ll find a Graphite Design Tour AD-VF shaft that all but confirms his return to a shaft manufacturer he used for large stretches in his career. Only instead of going back to the orange Tour AD-DI, Woods appears intent on trying something that’s designed to promote a lower launch, when compared to AD-DI.
What’s interesting about Woods’ shaft change is it just so happens to be the same model Justin Thomas recently added to his “longer” Titleist TSR3 driver in Napa. Thomas initially hinted the longer driver (45.625 inches) could see only a few tournaments during the year, only to use it for every start since Fortinet, including the Ryder Cup.
“It’s an instant 2 or 3 [mph] club speed and it goes quite a bit further,” Thomas said. “It was just something I wanted to have.”
Tiger and Thomas are good friends who talk regularly, so it’s possible the two discussed the shaft in advance of Woods making a change at the Hero World Challenge.
And then there’s the gear change few will likely pick up on — a return to lead tape on Woods’ famed Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS putter. Gearheads are used to seeing Woods add lead tape to the cavity every year during the Open Championship. A 1-inch strip of lead tape, which weighs about 2 grams, has been added to the putter to increase overall head weight in an attempt to get the ball rolling to the hole, something he’s struggled to do on slower greens.
“Normally when I’ve come over here and virtually almost every single Open I’ve played in, I would put lead tape on my putters to try and get it a little bit heavier and get the ball rolling,” Woods said in 2019.
It’s a small gear change that isn’t easy to spot — unless you’re looking for it.
Then again, everything Woods does to his tools is magnified when he’s on the course, even the tiniest of tweaks. Whether those tweaks can elevate Tiger’s game remains to be seen. We won’t have to wait long to find out.
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